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Book and DVD Reviews

 

The Four Laws of Ecology

By Barry Draycott

Last year I found a copy of The Closing Circle, Nature, Man & Technology by ecologist Barry Commoner. I started rereading it and was stunned to find in the first chapter, even before he states the Four Laws of Ecology, Commoner discusses the fundamental interaction of nutrients, humus, soil microbes, plant health, and climate! What is amazing is the book was published in 1971!!

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Reindeer at sunrise in winter, Sweden. Photo by Sara Nordangard. 

Book Review: The Reindeer Chronicles

Reviewed by Margot Taylor

You’ve got to love people who can find, understand, and interpret patterns and relationships. Judith Schwartz is this type of person as I’ve learned reading her new book, The Reindeer Chronicles. An engaging and skilled storyteller, Judith lays out an ecological rehabilitation process for our broken ecosystems, communities, and financial foundations. And she shows us how the power of inspiration can lift the human spirit, open the heart, and restore our American “can do” attitude. 

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Book Review: The Pollinator Victory Garden

Written by Kim Eierman, Published by Quarry Books, (2020)
Reviewed by Georgia Harris

I first heard about Kim Eierman’s book The Pollinator Victory Garden at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown. While Eierman could not have predicted that the release of her book would coincide with a pandemic, the timing is particularly appropriate as more people are finding time to work in and enjoy their yards and gardens.  

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Summer Wildflowers Cover.cropped 

Book Review: Summer Wildflowers of New England

Written by Carol Garcie, Princeton University Press, 2020
Reviewed by Maureen Sundberg

Carol Gracie’s admiration and affection for the flowers she researches and photographs is evident on every page of her new book Summer Wildflowers of the Northeast. Those familiar with the thoughtfully detailed life histories of plants in Gracie’s Spring Wildflowers of the Northeast will recognize in this companion volume her wide-ranging mix of the natural history of species and spectacular photography.

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cover Wild Seed Project 2020 magazine 

Magazine Review: Wild Seed, Volume 6

Reviewed by Curtis Jirsa

Wild Seed is an annual magazine published by Wild Seed Project, a Maine-based nonprofit that advocates for using more native plants in our landscapes. This year’s volume, like its predecessors, is a compelling and richly-illustrated collaboration between an impressive group of scholars, horticultural professionals, local artists, and other experts and enthusiasts.

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Cover Nature's Best Hope 

Book Review: Nature’s Best Hope

A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard

Written by Doug Tallamy; Published by Timber Press February 2020
Reviewed by Angela Tanner

As the world hunkers down in the midst of  a pandemic, Doug Tallamy’s latest book Nature’s Best Hope offers, as the title suggest, hope, and we all need a little of that. Drawing topics from his earlier book Bringing Nature Home, Tallamy explains, with examples and statistics, what is happening to the ecological systems around us, and why we should care.

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Jewell_TheEarthinHerHands_frontispiece 

The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working in the World of Plants

by Jennifer Jewell

Women have been sowers of seeds and tenders of seedlings for a very, very long time. For much of that time these women didn’t have the time or the means to document their history. There is no telling the whole story of women making their lives with plants or women broadening the field of plant knowledge and practice. I can’t even superficially acknowledge all the women in plants who’ve cultivated this territory before us, except to say the compost-rich soil they left behind is what germinated the seeds that grew the vibrant women I’m writing about today.

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Protecting Pollinators Cover 

Book Review: Protecting Pollinators

Protecting Pollinators by Jodi Helmer is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the myriad small and amazing creatures so crucial to our survival as a species. Reading the book is like having a dear friend share with you all the fascinating things she’s learned about pollinators during her journey to becoming a successful beekeeper, then placing all her resources at your fingertips.

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Book Review: Farming on the Wild Side

Written by Nancy J. Hayden and John P. Hayden
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2019
Reviewed by Lucy Birkett

Farming on the Wild Side chronicles, in a most delightful and humble way, the progression of a small organic farm in northern Vermont. An entomologist and an environmental engineer make nurturing biodiversity a top priority as they transform an old dairy farm into a productive, thriving, diversified farm teeming with life. The entire book is interspersed with moments of poignant philosophical wisdom, and ecology is everywhere.

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Book Cover - Designer's Mind 

Book Review: Cultivating the Designer’s Mind

Written by Walter Cudnohufsky with Mollie Babize

Reviewed by Trevor Buckley and Emily Davis

Cultivating the Designer’s Mind: Principles and Process for Coherent Landscape Design, readers will find a window into the mind of Walter Cudnohufsky, founder of the Conway School of Landscape Design and a visionary educator in design and planning. Accompanied by co-author Mollie Babize, a Conway alum and former administrator of the graduate program, Cudnohufsky presents an ably written and accessible book that demystifies the sometimes elusive design process and espouses a democratic design ethos. Through the lenses of landscape and ecology, they lay out a vision for applying a deliberative and compassionate mode of design-thinking to our complex and frenetic world.

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Book Review: Healing Earth

Healing Earth – An Ecologist’s Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship Written by John Todd Published by North Atlantic Books, 2019 Reviewed by Cindy Goulder It’s easy to be overwhelmed with despair by the many degradations of our natural world and the tumultuous effects expected of the changing climate. But John Todd is not despairing….

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